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Cablegate: Syria/Spain, Oic, Israeli Nukes, Palestinian Territories,

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0188/01 0581242
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271242Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3025
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6598
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4365
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2977
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7532
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1591
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4928
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1141
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7268

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000188

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/R/MR:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, AZAIBACK, AND
AFERNANDEZ, IIP/G/NEA-SA MDAVIDSON
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Syria/Spain, OIC, Israeli Nukes, Palestinian Territories,
Lebanon, Iraq, Iran (2/23-25)


1. Summary: Syrian papers on Feb. 25 reported that on Feb. 22 in
Madrid King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain inaugurated Arab
House and the Spanish Political Conference with the participation of
Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem and the Foreign Ministers of Saudi
Arabia, UAE, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq and Jordan. King Carlos, who
heads the Council of Secretaries of Arab House, hoped the conference
would be the starting point for an Arab-Spanish ministerial forum
and a framework for political interaction for reaching joint
positions in the future. Al-Mouallem delivered a speech at the
conference in which he reiterated the importance of reviving the
Arab-Europe dialogue, touching upon the important role that Spain is
playing as "a bridge between Arabs and Europeans in understanding
the issues of the region...." He called for reviving the Middle
East peace process with the aim of reaching a just and comprehensive
settlement that ends the Israeli occupation of the occupied Arab
territories in the Golan and Palestine.

Papers also reported the OIC Ministerial meeting that concluded on
Feb. 22 in Jeddah with the participation of Deputy Foreign Minister
Dr. Faisal al-Meqdad. The conference focused on Israeli assaults
against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The conferees supported the Mecca
Accord between Fatah and Hamas and welcomed efforts to form a
Palestinian national unity government. The meeting mandated the OIC
Group in New York to follow up on its request to the UN Security
Council to take the necessary measures to end the serious violations
against the al-Aqsa Mosque. It requested the OIC Group at UNESCO to
continue to urge this organization to fulfill its responsibilities
and take the necessary measures to preserve the human and
civilization heritage of Jerusalem, including the formation of a
committee to investigate the Israeli assaults against the al-Aqsa
Mosque.

Papers also reported that the Arab Ambassadors Council in Vienna has
stressed, in a message sent to the Director General of the
International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Mohammed Baradei on Feb.
23, that by possessing military nuclear capabilities, Israel is
violating the will of the international community. The message,
which was sent by the Dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps, Omani
Ambassador in Vienna, Salem Ben Mohammed, underlined the importance
of the Syrian Initiative in 2003, which was proposed on behalf of
the Arab Group at the UN Security Council, that called for ridding
the Middle East of WMD, confirming the Arab countries' right to take
all measures necessary to deal with the threat represented by the
Israeli nuclear arsenal.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Foreign Minister Mouallem calls for reviving Arab- European
dialogue and the Middle East Peace Process" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 2/23)

"Deputy Foreign Minister Miqdad addresses the OIC Ministerial
meeting in Jedda: The weakness of the Arab nation encourages
Israeli assaults against the al-Aqsa mosque" (Government-owned
Al-Thawra, 2/23)

"Former US Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke and US Democratic
Senator Christopher Carney call on US President Bush to hold
dialogue with Syria" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 2/25)

"The Organization of Islamic Conference calls for boycotting
relations with Israel" (Government-owned Tishreen, 2/25)

"British 'Daily Telegraph': Israel negotiates with Washington to
hit Iranian positions" (Government-owned Tishreen, 2/25)

"The Lebanese opposition: The current government works according to
the directives of US Ambassador in Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 2/25)

"Solana: We will not leave Palestinians without help. Mishaal in
Moscow tomorrow: European steps to break siege on Palestinians have
started; Arabs are capable of breaking the siege" (Government-owned
Al-Ba'th, 2/24)


"A UN report depicts Israeli occupation as apartheid"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 2/24)

"The UN Human Rights Council: Israel is practicing racist
discrimination and terrorism" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 2/23)

"Arab Ambassadors in Vienna urge Director General of the
International Atomic Energy Agency el-Baradei to address the Israeli
nuclear threat" (Government-owned Tishreen, 2/24)

"The Lebanese national opposition heads towards a decisive week.
The agenda of the February 14 team is not Lebanese. The explosives
that were discovered in Al-Ashrafia are Israeli-made"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 2/24)

"Former Lebanese Prime Minister al-Huss: Lebanese accord is
achievable without superpowers' intervention" (Government-owned
Al-Thawra, 2/23)

"Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan: The International Court must
unveil the truth, not settle scores" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th,
2/25)

"US helicopters are successively falling in Iraq. British papers:
Blair's decision on reducing forces in Iraq is a classic scenario
for a defeated leader" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 2/23)

"Iran launches a satellite and warns against any aggression. US
Vice President Cheney: All options are on the table with regard to
Iran" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 2/25)

"Iran persists in its right to a peaceful nuclear program. US
political and military mobilization is met by Russian-Chinese
opposition and German patience" (Government-owned Tishreen, 2/24)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

---------------------------------

"Before the Damage Has Been Done"

----------------------------------

Isam Dari, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(2/24): "When Israel conducts large-scale military maneuvers, using
all types of weapons, on occupied Syrian territory -- as recognized
by the whole world - it acts as if it is exercising a natural right!
Is it not the spoiled child of the near and far West and the
illegitimate baby of the colonialist West's conspiracy against Arabs
for more than a century?

"If a news report about Syria's intention to conclude a normal and
purely defensive arms deal is leaked, the US Administration raises a
hue and cry and works without limit to hinder the deal because any
weapons for Syria threaten the security of Israel and the United
States itself, and perhaps the security of the galaxy!

"But when the United States shows all generosity toward Israel and
opens the doors of its storehouses wide for Tel Aviv to scoop up
whatever defensive and assault weapons it wants, conventional or
not, Syria, the Arabs, and the peoples of the region from Central
Asia to central Africa should not worry...!

"Because there is a mythical project in the minds of Israel, the
Zionist Conference Organization, and the Zionized Americans who
embrace so-called 'Zionist Christianity,' the threat is not
imaginary; it has not been invented by any Arab, Muslim, or
Christian....

"We do not think people could disagree that what is happening in
Iraq is aimed at serving Israel, Zionists, and neoconservatives in
the United States, Britain, and many other countries in the
civilized West!

"For more than a quarter of a century, Israel believed that a strong

Arab Iraq posed a threat to it and that Syria was the second
threat....

"The Zionist Israeli strategy that the Zionized forces are
implementing does not stop at the border of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon,
and Palestine. It includes the entire Arab world and beyond, up to
Iran, Turkey, and Central Asia...."
--------------------------------------

"The Quartet and a Tripartite Meeting"

--------------------------------------

Adnan Ali, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawrah, wrote
(2/23(): "The result of the Quartet meeting in Berlin was very
similar to the result of the tripartite meeting among US Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, which was even more of a
failure....

"The quartet has been unable so far to play a role independent of
American influence, which always drags it toward Israel....

"Israel is benefiting from nearly full American cover and it has
nothing to offer to Palestinians, irrespective of who represents
them.... Israel seeks to foil the Mecca Accord between Fatah and
HAMAS and bring Palestinians back to internecine clashes. This
being the case, Palestinians need to demonstrate maximum national
unity and adhere fully to the Mecca Accord....

---------------------

"Britain Shocks Bush"

---------------------

Muhammad Khayr al-Jammali, an editorialist in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (2/23): "British Prime Minister Tony Blair
surprised the US Administration with his decision to withdraw
British forces from Iraq by the end of 2008 and to set a timetable
for the implementation of this decision, a timetable that begins
with the speedy return of 1,600 soldiers to their country....

"How will Bush react to the British decision? If he says the
decision is correct, he will be asked to do the same, and if he says
that this is a betrayal of the biggest ally, he will be asked: why
don't you withdraw the troops now that they are left alone in the
quagmire of death and blood?

"The British decision closed the door to Bush's maneuvers to stay in
Iraq and blocked the false policies through which he has justified
the worst decision by an American president, namely, the decision to
invade Iraq.

"If Bush still has an option to save face after the withdrawal of
his big allies -- Spain, Italy, and Britain -- from Iraq, then it is
the option of following in their footsteps and making a courageous
decision to pull out of Iraq to save the American troops and the
Iraqi people from the bloodbath and allow Iraq to regain its
freedom, independence, and unity, which the occupation is trying to
tear apart in its effort to control the country, which rejects the
invasion and its colonial plans.

Corbin

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